Alfa Romeo have been handed a €5,000 fine after Kimi Raikkonen’s right-front wheel came off during the Austrian Grand Prix.
Raikkonen had pitted during a Safety Car period, but he prompted it to return immediately after the re-start when his right-front wheel flew off the C39.
The stewards have since said that the nut holding the wheel on was cross-threaded when it was attached to Raikkonen’s car, but cleared them of knowing that the wheel could have come off.
Raikkonen has a tyre failure and joins the long retirement list. pic.twitter.com/nO2bnKtOZe
— f1racers (@f1racers_) July 5, 2020
Their report, as quoted by Racefans.net, reads: “Having examined photos of the damaged wheel and the axle shaft it is evident that the wheel nut of the RHS front wheel got cross threaded during the wheel change which was not identified by the wheel gun operator.
“As a consequence the right-front wheel went off when the car was back in the race.
“The stewards accept, however, that neither the team nor the driver had the opportunity to realise that the car was in unsafe condition and therefore did not stop the car.”
Speaking after the race, Raikkonen said: “We had reasonable speed, and then we were unlucky with the first Safety Car.
“Then I think we were in a good position with the tyres but for some reason lost the right front on the re-start.
“I have no idea why, but I think it’s a shame.
“For sure we could have scored some points.”
Someone who was in the points though was his team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi who finished P9.
“I am really happy with today’s result,” he said.
“After our difficult qualifying yesterday, to get to the points was the maximum we could do.
“The race wasn’t easy, we struggled a little at the start but we got stronger as the race went on. Of course, in such a chaotic race you need a bit of luck, but we were ready to grab any chance with two hands when it came.
“We put up a big fight for this and in the end P9 is a great way to start the season. I am really happy for the guys and girls in the garage and back at home. There’s still a lot to improve but it’s just the first race of the season: there’s plenty of time and I am already looking forward to being back in the car next week.”